Students are a Microcosm of Midterm Political Landscape

Chase Portaro

For Pennsylvanians, there’s a lot riding on this year’s midterm elections. Voting rights, educational rights, and reproductive rights, just to name a few, are all in limbo as we elect the officials who will make decisions about them. For those outside of The Commonwealth, there’s also a lot riding on Pennsylvania’s midterm election – Pat Toomey’s open seat could decide which party controls the Senate. So PA’s midterms have gained national attention, as evidenced by the daily coverage in national news outlets and visits from three presidents, former Presidents Obama and Trump and current President Biden.

On a local level, Ursinus students, whether they’re full-time residents of PA or not, have a lot at stake also. The Grizzly wanted to explore how students are thinking about this year’s election, so we asked them what it means to vote as a student and what is important come election time. While we do not claim that the responses are representative of the entire student body, the anonymous responses we did receive reflected the overall theme of this year’s campaigns: pointed polarization. The responses, arranged here in the order in which they were received and edited for brevity and clarity, ranged from optimistic, to apathetic, to anarchistic.

It doesn’t mean anything, the push for student voting is a corporate scam. . . The state wants you, ‘the voter,’ to believe that the act of voting gives you the power to change things for the better. . . Anarchy or nothing.”

“For this election, I’m voting to protect human rights, including abortion access, lgbtq rights, and voting rights — candidates have made taking away these rights central to their campaigns.”

“…those running for public office believe we are servants of those who rule, have no bodily autonomy (except when it comes to abortions), and can be split apart along racial lines and further pushed towards civil unrest. … I will not be voting now, or likely ever again. Politicians are scum and anyone who thinks otherwise is ignorant or malevolent.”

“The future of me and my kids. it’s important to vote bc [because] votes do count.”

“…I think the one thing important to me come election time is no one puts another person down for what they vote for. Also in any way shape or form look at another person differently based on who they vote for.”

“There’s so much at stake in this election from reproductive rights to LGBTQ+ rights to infrastructure. These decisions that legislators make will directly affect me and our community. Young people are not really represented in politics which is why it’s so pivotal for us to vote and get our voices heard.”

“I love getting involved and seeing change as a result of my vote, but what is most important to me is respect and privacy.”

“Voting means making a difference and making my voice heard! Come election time, reproductive rights/women’s rights are important to me.”

“To vote as a student is critical to me. I will vote until I am physically unable to. Abortion access, bodily autonomy, protection of trans youth, union rights, Medicare for all, and higher taxes for the wealthy are all extremely important to me…To protect the rights of the oppressed is my main desire. I believe that my vote has little impact, but I refuse to not try. So I will try by voting, speaking, writing, and protesting. I would rather try and fail than give up and do nothing.”

“Voting is my desperate attempt to feel like I am doing something about the world falling apart.”

“As of right now, I’m not entirely motivated to vote. Throughout my life, I’ve noticed little to no change in my life regardless of who is in office…I also don’t subscribe to the polarized two-party political system that we currently have [which is] way too radical on both sides.”

“The fate of the free world is in our hands. If the Republicans win this election, there will be no more hope for women to win back their bodily autonomy. Greedy corporations will reign supreme, and free universal education and healthcare will never become a reality.”

“It’s extremely [important] to vote as a student. We are the upcoming generation of individuals who are responsible for the world that will be created. Voting and getting involved in politics will shape our future.”

“As a student, voting gives me power in a society to have my voice be heard in a non-academic setting. This election, I am very focused on social justice and civil rights. I purposefully switched my voting address from my home in New Jersey to Ursinus College. This is because Pennsylvania is a swing state whereas my home state is generally democratic, so my vote has the potential to positively impact more lives here.”

“It is important to me to vote not only as a student but as a woman in today’s society. I will continue to fight for a person’s right to choose and have full autonomy over their own body.”